Stacey Leong Interiors makes over a bungalow in MacRitchie with a calm, minimalist aesthetic

Stacey Leong Interiors makes over a bungalow in MacRitchie with a calm, minimalist aesthetic

Stacey Leong Interiors makes over a bungalow in MacRitchie with a calm, minimalist aesthetic

The green movement has made its mark on the architecture industry through sustainable design, energy-efficient buildings, renewable materials and the adaptive reuse of existing structures. Indeed, preserving a house is one of the most eco-conscious decisions any new homeowner can make. Another excellent reason for doing so: timeless, classic design. 

This was the case for this bungalow in MacRitchie, which was conceived and built in 2005 by Bedmar & Shi, the firm of renowned Argentinian architect Ernesto Bedmar. “Their utmost priority was to preserve the architecture of the original house,” says Stacey Leong of her clients, who hired her to give the home a makeover.

The first floor of the building houses an office, an en suite guest bedroom, a formal living area, lounge, kitchen, dining room and powder rooms; while the second floor has the master suite and three bedrooms. 

Bungalow in MacRitchie by Stacey Leong Interiors, living room
Stacey Leong Interiors was hired to give this bungalow that was conceived and built in 2005 by Bedmar & Shi a makeover.

“There were no layout changes, apart from converting the basement to a gym and installing an office in the front of the house,” says Leong, who runs her own eponymous firm. “For daily living, the client yearned for a mindful space that incorporated discreet luxury.” 

The brief therefore centred on enhancing the interiors of the well-built structure, keeping a calm and minimalist aesthetic, with a strong preference for warm textures – like aged brass, pure linen and wool textiles – and a focus on comfort, storage and organisation. “Beyond this brief to create a family home, there were very few restraints placed on our creative input and management of the project.”

Weaving the outdoors in 

The house takes the shape of the letter “U”, with the rooms surrounding a swimming pool, and a lot of lush landscaping. The koi pond, which used to run the length of the house, is now converted into a Zen rock garden, while an olive tree — which was a gift to the family — is planted next to the pool. “There is a modern tropical sensibility, which sets the foundation for seamless indoor-outdoor living,” notes Leong. 

Consequently, the designer found the outdoors to be a rich source of inspiration for her work indoors. “When selecting materials, we made a concerted effort to ensure the colours and textures complemented and enhanced the exterior walls and foliage,” she shares. “For example, the wheat-like colour of the fine pebbles in the rock garden was repeated in the custom rug of the living room.” 

“In the powder room, we developed a rich and whimsical scheme [based off] the Moroccan pink pebbles laid in the facing courtyard garden,” she says. “We used that [colour] to custom [blend] a hand-poured Terrazzo pink [for the] flooring, which became the ultimate canvas. We then sourced an inky black and plum-veined Corvidae marble to clad an integrated wash basin sink and the concealed WC wall. In every room, the exterior served as an extra dimension and layer to enhance the interiors.”

Bungalow in MacRitchie by Stacey Leong Interiors, powder room
In the powder room, there are highlights such as the hand-poured Terrazzo pink flooring and inky black, plum-veined Corvidae marble to clad an integrated wash basin sink and the concealed WC wall.

Balancing form with function 

Other ways that Leong sought to fulfil the brief were through a colour palette of bone, cream, wheat and taupe, as well as a considered lighting strategy and a curated selection of materials. From the Dover White marble and ivory tiles chosen for the kitchen, to the custom boucle bed in the master bedroom, to the loving restoration of the original vaulted timber ceilings, the decisions taken have resulted in a home that shows off a masterful balance between warmth and coolness, hardness and softness. 

Bungalow in MacRitchie by Stacey Leong Interiors, kitchen
Dover White marble and ivory tiles were chosen for the kitchen.

Leong worked with specialist lighting consultant Lightbasic Studio to create a layered approach through discreet concealed cove lighting, supplemented with a series of decorative accent wall lamps and pendants. The clients opted for custom brass lighting fixtures, like the one installed in the kitchen — an enamel and brass pulley pendant lamp from English kitchen makers deVOL

Aware that aesthetics makes up only half of good design, Leong also incorporated plenty of clever touches to ensure the rooms are as functional as they are beautiful — hence the beverage cabinet with a custom niche for a Big Berkey water dispenser in the kitchen, the L-shaped desk for multiple screens in the study, and a fold-down vanity mirror and concealed space for beauty products in the dresser island of the dressing room. 

Bungalow in MacRitchie by Stacey Leong Interiors, study
The L-shaped desk for multiple screens in the study is one of the features to ensure the room is as functional as it is beautiful.

The arched wooden French-style glass doors in the master suite are also a perfect example of melding form with function. In addition to being a stunning design element, they also physically separate the place of rest from the organisation space, while increasing air-conditioning efficiency. 

“The clients wanted a home that was understated, warm, plush, minimal and calm,” says Leong, reflecting on the project. “They wanted to sink into deep sofas and feel utterly relaxed in this space, while keeping the aesthetics very neat and fresh. With two young children, this was a home that needed to be versatile and easy to maintain, yet ready to receive dinner party guests.”

Looking at the way she has updated a classic house by creating airy, luxe and stylish interiors, it is clear that Leong has managed to do just that.

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